OK boys and girls. I have been doing some research on turbo diesels after I had a mind-altering ride in one the other day. And you are NOT going to like it.
Diesels are not my cup of tea – and I’m not trying to sell you one. But listen up please!
I started off by comparing detailed in gear figures for an average 2.0 (or thereabouts) turbo diesel in a rep-mobile, versus a 2.0 16v in a similar car. Basically, the TD car was ripping the 2.0 16v petrol engine’s times apart so much, that I had to start thinking of some hotter competition.
As hot hatch fans, you are NOT going to like this.
I took the in gear figures for a 2.2 16v TD Vectra from a recent Autocar. Now this is not exactly the best TD on the market at the moment either (start worrying now). It’s a 16v with direct injection and an intercooler, but doesn’t have really high-pressure injection (“pump douse” or “PD” as VW models say), or common-rail technology (which it should to be competitive). Basically it’s a fairly crappy TD engine in a heavy Vectra – 1489kg!! It makes a fairly sub-standard 123bhp and average 206lb/ft of torque at 1500rpm.
How does it compare then to say, a Mini Cooper S? Or a SEAT Leon Cupra R (with 210bhp!!). This is, after all, a really bog standard 123bhp over-weight car…
20-40 in 2nd: Cooper S 5.5; Cupra R 4.3; Vectra TD 3.1
30-50 in 2nd: Cooper S 5.0; Cupra R 3.2; Vectra TD 3.3
40-60 in 2nd: Cooper S 4.8; Cupra R 3.2; Vectra TD 4.2
50-70 in 3rd: Cooper S 5.0; Cupra R 3.5; Vectra TD 5.5
70-90 in 3rd: Cooper S 6.0; Cupra R 5.1; Vectra TD 8.3
OK – that’s the deal. And what it basically says is that if you’re in anything slower than a Cupra R, then you’re going to get beaten – yes, beaten – by a diesel with 123bhp in a car that weighs a good few hundred kg’s more! You’ll see that the TD runs out of puff at over 70mph, but the message is that they’re going to be very hard work within the speed limit. You can’t just count on revs in, say, a Clio 16v – because it’s going to be very difficult to shake off until you’re doing illegal speeds, which isn’t always possible. That is, of course, unless you do a standing start.
I’d like to compare a Clio 172/Williams/16v/Cup if I had the figures. Please feel free to compare them with other cars if you have the correct data (Autocar in-depth tests are good).
I stress that these are in gear figures. They show you what will happen if you go for it at a certain speed – but not the cumulative effects of the acceleration.
Hence the Vectra’s 0-60 is 10.7, while the Cooper S makes 7.7 and the Cupra R 7.2.
I seem to remember the pre-launch hype of the Cooper S making light of the “vivid in gear times”. Well, they ain’t that good matey!!!!
P.S. There might just be hope for TooFat if he starts driving a TD!